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Terry Lovejoy

Comet Hunter (from Down Under)

Biography

Terry is best known as the discoverer of some of the brightest comets of the past decade, including the “The Great Christmas Comet of 2011” which passed through the sun’s corona on December 16, 2011. He continues to search for new comet’s today and has so far found 6 that bear his surname, adding to a further 11 that were found by him in images made by the LASCO C3 Coronagraph aboard the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory.

He started hunting for comets at the end of 2004, using a DSLR and telephoto lens, but switched to Celestron C8 operating in Fastar mode with a Hyperstar and CCD camera at the end of 2009. With this configuration, he found 3 comets C/2011 W3, C/2013 R1 and C/2014 Q4 which all became bright comets. Since 2015 he upgraded to a Celestron C14, with this he found Comet C/2017 E4 which also became a bright comet.  

Rather than using a remote mountaintop observatory, Terry still chooses to operate the scopes from his suburban backyard in Brisbane, Australia. This also allows him to use the telescopes in prime focus mode to do “leisure” astronomy which sometimes means swapping in an eyepiece and admiring the skies with his own eyes. 

Astronomy has been a constant passion of Terry’s from a young age when he fondly remembers observing the planets with his father’s 60 mm refractor, from their then family home in Sydney Australia. As an avid sky watcher, he feels lucky to have witnessed many great celestial from 2 Total Eclipses of the sun, bright aurora, several great comets and the brilliant Leonid Meteor shower of 2001.

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Fast Facts

  • Has discovered 17 comets, 6 from his backyard, 11 from images acquired by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory.
  • Lives in Brisbane, Australia.
  • Currently uses Celestron C14 Edge on CGEM-DX mount. Also uses a Celestron C8.
  • Has a Degree in Mechanical Engineering from University of Queensland (but has worked in IT for nearly 20 years).
  • Interested in Astronomy since about 1976
  • Presented for the following:
    • NACAA 2012 (National Australian Convention of Amateur Astronomers) – Brisbane, Australia.
    • CWAS Astrofest 2012 (Central West Astronomical Society) - Parkes, Australia
    • AAIC 2013 (Australian Astronomical Imaging Conference) – Gold Coast, Australia.
    • AIC 2015 (Astronomical Imaging Conference) – San Jose, Ca.
    • Victoria South Desert Star Party 2015 – Nhill, Australia.
    • ASV (Astronomical Society of Victoria) – Melbourne, Australia.
    • SASI (Sutherland Astronomical Society) – Sydney, Australia.
    • AAQ (Astronomical Association of Queensland) – Brisbane, Australia.
    • BAS (Brisbane Astronomical Society) – Brisbane, Australia.
    • Stargayzers – Brisbane, Australia.
  • Recipient of the following awards:
    • Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatories’ Edgar Wilson award for 2007,2011 and 2014.
    • The Queensland Astronomical Societies 2015 Discovery Award.
  • In addition to the above he has also been interviewed numerous times for radio, websites, newspapers and TV.

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